Monday, August 18, 2014

This. Just this.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Village

I just read an article entitled “I miss my village.”  I read it while folding pool towels, preparing for an onslaught of neighborhood kids and their parents to come over for a summer afternoon. The only reason I was “preparing” was that, after so many impromptu neighborhood gatherings, I decided we had to limit them a little bit so we could plan other activities. (The house is still a mess, but that’s ok because I know my fellow villagers don’t care)

See, I live in The Village. That village where your neighbor’s door is open and your kids freely wander in. Ok, not so freely, my neighbor put sleigh bells on her back door so she could hear when my kid wandered in, as often she’d turn around, startled, to find a stealthy 4 year old looking up at her. 

A neighborhood where, when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and faced multiple surgeries, before I could blink my eyes neighbors planned childcare for our two kids, planned and delivered meals, even offered to clean my house.

The village where, when I must write down the responsible adults who may pick up my child from school, the newcomer at the school thinks I must be nuts: I have at least ten names down. Then a teacher steps in and says “I have to explain to them about ‘the neighborhood.’”  Because, at any given time, if I’m stuck across town, or having a sleeping baby I would rather not wake, or was in the middle of a home project, I could call and ask “Can you get my kid from school today?”

The village where, when I had to go out of town for the day, I could rally a tag team of five families to pick up and deliver my kids from different schools to different homes until I could get back.

The village where, when I need a wine opener, I can walk next door and borrow one, then share the wine. Ok, I’ll be honest, usually it’s my neighbor asking for the wine opener because I’m well stocked, but we still share the bottle.

The village where, after yet another pool party, the gathering will morph into dinner and movie watching with multiple families (this one planned, because, we know by now it’ll happen anyway).

The village where I can chat with my female friends, some other moms, some without kids. The village where I can chat with my male friends, some dads, some without kids. The village where my childless next door neighbors are honorary grandparents to my kids. The village consists of all types of families, not just those with kids. 

Our village is urban, and while we have trees to climb, there are streets to traverse, which mean we can’t just let our four year olds run to their friend’s house a few blocks away (as much as he may think he can).  There’s enough traffic that I don’t let my kids play in the street, but they can walk down the sidewalk to the neighbors' houses. We have what one neighbor calls "Walkpooling" - she'll pick up anywhere from five to ten kids and walk them home from school. 

Our village has multiple layers.  The layers include two major neighborhoods and another smaller one, but still, all One Village. The layers include families with small kids, families with grown kids, childfree families, and singles.  One Village. 

I don’t miss the village. I live in The Village. We even have a flag. 

Saturday, July 05, 2014

And this is 8!

I haven't updated in awhile, these kids keep me on my toes.

I can't believe our first born is now 8! How did that happen? Wasn't it just yesterday she was a tiny baby? Now she's a gorgeous, fiesty, smart, curious, fascinating girl. No surprises there.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Dad, Opa, husband, uncle, friend

Martin H. Rohr made an impact on everyone he met. Having lived 81 years and giving his family and friends a lifetime of stories, he died peacefully on Friday, Feb. 28.

Marty was born on Nov. 24, 1932, the tenth of 14 children of Elmer and Helen Rohr and raised on the family farm in Massillon, OH.  Joining the US Navy in 1951, he reported for duty at the US Naval Training Center in IL, where 63 years later, his grandson would also report for duty.  Serving through the Korean War, it was while stationed in San Diego that he became friends with Charles (“Carlitos”). Far away from his own family, Marty happily tagged along to the large Mexican family gatherings of Carlitos’ extended clan in Los Angeles.  It was at these events he met Elaine, who would become his wife after his honorable discharge in 1955. Together they raised eight children in Baldwin Park, CA.

Always a hard worker, Marty was a milkman, a meter reader for the electric company, and worked in various construction jobs before founding Martel Rebar, later to become Rohr Steel.

He gave a lifetime of service to others.  He was a continual presence at the schools his children attended:  St John the Baptist in Baldwin Park and Bishop Amat High School in La Puente. From moving bleachers, to conducting parking at football games, to setting up for festivals, he was always ready to lend a hand.

As Scout Master of Boy Scout Troop 695 in Baldwin Park, he taught the boys (and some of their sisters) how to tie knots, led camping and hiking expeditions and served as a role model to a generation of boys and girls.

Most recently, he was a very dedicated member of the American Legion Post Charter Cove 755, donating many hours of his time and expertise to the Post. He considered his fellow Legionnaires family. He will long be remembered by Legionnaires, friends, and family alike standing over an open fire making his famous Mojo potatoes and telling stories.

The many friends of his eight children knew him as “Dad Rohr,” the man who drove the 1963 Ford van filled with teenagers to football games, visits to the mountains, and trips to the beach.  Marty was a father figure and role model not just to his own children, but to all their friends and neighbors, to his many nieces and nephews, to his grandchildren and to their friends who also called him “Opa.”  Indeed, when remodeling the small 3-bedroom house in Baldwin Park, he said his goal was to make the house so that all friends and relatives would feel welcome and there was always space for one more.  

A strong believer in the importance of education and known for giving the shirt off his back to someone in need, he donated his body to UC Irvine Medical School, so he could continue to be of service and to foster education.

Preceded in death by his son Albert and granddaughter Camie, he is survived by Elaine; his children and their spouses: Tim and Leone; Theresa and Paul; Loretta and Bruce; Chris and Debbie; Michele and Steve; Cherise and Frederic; Denise and Kurt, and 25 grandchildren. He is also survived by his siblings Cletus, Ron, Gerrie, and Helen Ann, and more than 60 nieces and nephews.

The family is especially grateful to those who assisted in his care in his final years at Claremont Place Assisted Living and to our cousin, Susan, who always brought a smile to our dad’s face.

Marty leaves a legacy of service, of laughter, and celebration. A Catholic Mass in celebration of his life will take place at 1:30 pm on Saturday, March 8, at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, 925 N. Campus Ave, Upland, CA, 91786. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St John the Baptist School Youth Programs, c/o Noreen Ebiner, 3870 Stewart Ave, Baldwin Park, CA 91706. 

The short obituary in the Daily Bulletin (Inland Empire) can be found>here
 and the>Massillon Evening Standard 

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